Documentation of Constructive Innovation Assessment (CINA) workshops:
InnoForESt Innovation Region Eisenwurzen, Austria

D4.2 subreport

Main authors: Jutta Kister, Michael Klingler, Wolfgang Baaske, Christian Schleyer, Hannah Politor and Eva Seebacher
With contributions from: Veronika Gaube
Edited by: Ewert Aukes, Peter Stegmaier

List of Figures

List of Tables

Abbreviations

FES Forest Ecosystem Services
IR Innovation Region
LTSER platform Long-term social-ecological research platform
MHC Möbel-Holz-Cluster Oberösterreich/Furniture and Wood Construction Cluster, Upper Austria
SPES Studiengesellschaft für Projekte zur Erneuerung der Strukturen / Study association for projects to renew structures AND ‚Spes‘ – lat. ‚Hoffnung‘/Hope
STUDIA Studiengruppe für internationale Analysen / Study group for international analyses

1 Introduction

1.1 Overall case description

The governance innovation in the Innovation Region (IR) is expected to better capture the value of forests and concrete Forest Ecosystem Services (FES) in the mountainous and densely-forested areas of Eisenwurzen (Austria). The aim is to build up a network of innovative collaboration in order to improve sustainable use of forest-and wood-related resources with improved and sustainable benefits for the region and the people living and working there. In particular, regional value chains for timber and forest-products are to be created in order to secure local artisanship and create future-oriented sustainable solutions for forest management. Stakeholders from different sectors are hoped to become involved in the network, including representatives from two National Parks as well as economic and administrative actors. The innovation is in an early stage of identifying and linking stakeholders.

The Austrian case study focuses on value creation from forests and wood processing. On a regional level, the innovation is expected to lead to a more sustainable forest management and an increased collaboration of stakeholders from forestry, public administration, regional planning, tourism, and traditional craftsmanship in order to create value and support local jobs. The relation to Forest Ecosystem Services (FES) is dominated by – but not restricted to – the extractive use of regional timber. The process of innovation is still in an early stage. So far, three options have been formulated:

  • Furniture, design & region
  • Mobile wooden houses & tourism
  • Experiencing forest and wood (e.g., for hiking, recreation, or education)

While timber and (furniture) wood is the major focus for stakeholders representing especially interests for the economic valorization of natural resources, biodiversity conservation, erosion and water protection or climate regulation are FES which are considered as important, too, by stakeholders such as the National Park administrations or the regional forest department. Depending on the final character of the innovation, it is likely that aesthetic values and a certain experimental and sensual interaction with forests, wood, and timber (e.g., in the context of forest-related educational programs or activities) will feature more prominently.

1.2 Problem background

The aim of the IR Eisenwurzen is to build up a network of innovative collaborations in order to improve options for sustainable use of forest and wood-related resources with improved benefits for the region and its inhabitants. The region encompasses a high share of forest area; protected areas are of relevance. As many other comparable rural regions, the Eisenwurzen is confronted with an increasing loss of population.

2 Case overview

2.1 Case history

Table 1: Brief history of the Eisenwurzen innovation.
Period Description
Mid-End 1980s Kirchdorf an der Krems is one of the districts with the highest share of organic agriculture (in the upper quartile in terms of cultivated area and produce) in Austria. In the 90’s, the district is in the top position in regional agricultural marketing initiatives per inhabitants, see Baaske (2002, p.117).
1990 The Austrian district Kirchdorf an der Krems has become a pioneer in organizing a self-driven process of regional development characterized by involving stakeholders. A survey in general local public (E. Brunmayr 1991: “Kirchdorf Szenario 2010”) showed high acceptance for developing the region towards living and performing economic activities in a nature-friendly way; environment and economics are not perceived as contradiction. This process supported the idea of a National Park Kalkalpen, which was established in 1996.
1994 The region Steyr-Kirchdorf elaborated a development strategy, in which both nature conservation and value creation in agriculture, forestry, and tourism have been a substantial focus (ÖIR, FAZAT, STUDIA (1994): Regionalwirtschaftliches Konzept). Joining the EU in 1995, Austria starts to participate in EU co-financed regional development programmes (Leader, 5b-programmes, Interreg).
Ca. 2000 Following regional representatives, the regional development slogan “From forest to wood” (“Von der Wald- zur Holzregion”) was coined. The focus on value creation in the forest-wood chain remains vivid in later concepts up until now (e.g., Regioplan (16.5.2003): Regionales Entwicklungskonzept Steyr-Kirchdorf; Lokale Entwicklungsstrategie Leader Region Nationalpark Oö. Kalkalpen).
2004 Eisenwurzen becomes an LTSER platform (Long-term social-ecological research) with manifold research-related activities (inter- and transdisciplinary), but also with an established and extensive network of local, regional, and national stakeholders (including forest-related ones), rather research-supported initiatives/projects in areas including regional development, agriculture, forestry, tourism, and an impressive set and range of social-ecological data and monitoring systems.
2011-2013 Interreg-Project project ‘Modular furniture from National park regions’, financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the European program ‘Europäische Territoriale Zusammenarbeit, Grenzübergreifendes Förderprogramm Interreg Bayern-Österreich 2007 – 2013’. This project was developed and led by the InnoForESt practice partner STUDIA Schlierbach, and co-operated with the ‘Furniture-wood-construction cluster Upper Austria’ (MHC) and the ‘Network Forest and Wood’ (Bavaria).
2017/18 The idea of developing, constructing and deploying tiny houses for use in the region emerged, and local constructors, tourism actors and model developers started to work on implementation plans. In cooperation with the Furniture and Wood Construction Cluster (MHC) Upper Austria and the SPES Future Academy in the ‘Wood Theme Network’, an idea for a mobile, modular accommodation in wood construction was developed. As a basis, a container-shaped modular timber construction that can be configured variably, developed by the company Wolfthal, was used.
2017 Integrating modular-furniture idea as governance innovation in InnoForESt project
March to May 2018 Qualitative survey amongst former participants of Interreg Project and further regional stakeholders (semi-structured interviews with individual or small groups of stakeholders) mainly conducted by scientific partner UIBK (see Topic 1) contributing to the Stakeholder Analysis and the Governance System Assessment.
May 2018 Decision to pursue further the (modular)-furniture idea as one governance innovation idea/scenario, yet linking it more to design and regional issues rather than the ‘modular’ aspect (Furniture, Design & Region). Further, two other governance innovation ideas/scenarios ‘Mobile wooden houses and Tourism’ and ‘Experiencing Forests and Wood’ were added.
24 October 2018 Focus group discussions on three governance innovation scenarios (Furniture, Design & Region; Mobile wooden houses & tourism; Experiencing forests & wood) with selected stakeholders initiated and organized by IR team
7 February 2019 First CINA (Scenario Selection) Workshop, Kirchdorf/Krems
16 May 2019 Second CINA Workshop, Reichraming
17 July 2019 1st Task-Force-Group Eisenwurzen meeting with five external regional stakeholders on further developing the idea of an innovation platform
30 October 2019 ‘Market place’ during InnoForESt-Consortium Assembly in Schlierbach: enabling exchange, mutual knowledge and understanding between InnoForESt-project partners and local actors of the forest-wood value-chain
31 October 2019 Excursion ‘Forest-wood-value-chain Eisenwurzen’ in the context of the InnoForESt-Consortium Assembly in Schlierbach: a) giving the InnoForESt members insights into the forest-wood value chain of the Eisenwurzen region; b) local stakeholders have the opportunity to communicate innovative approaches to and to exchange experiences with an international community
November 2019 Launching Digital Platform ‚Innovationsplattform Wertschöpfungskette Wald-Holz‘ (https://eisenwurzen.innoforest.eu/)
23 January 2020 Third CINA Workshop, Schlierbach
25 March 2020 2nd Task-Force-Group Eisenwurzen meeting (cancelled/postponed due to COVID-19)

2.2 Brief stakeholder constellation

List and typology of relevant stakeholders (as of July/August 2018: Stakeholder analysis report) including actor-network mapping separate for the three innovation ideas addressed by the focus groups in October 2018):

Table 2: List of relevant stakeholders for innovation idea (A) ‘Furniture, Design & Region’

(* SME (Small and medium enterprises) // ** PR (Private), PU (Public), PU-PR (Public-Private), C (Collective) // *** L (Local), R (Regional), N (National), I (International) // **** L (Low), A (Average), H (High))

Stakeholder (UIBK, STUDIA) Stakeholder category (UIBK)* Sphere** Business type Scale*** Openness to innovation****
Regionalforum Steyr-Kirchdorf / state deputy / mayor Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R H
WKO (chamber of commerce) Public administration PU Chamber of commerce L H
LAG LEADER-Region Traun4tler Alpenvorland Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R H
LAG LEADER-Region Nationalpark Oö. Kalkalpen Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R H
Nationalpark Gesäuse Protected areas organizations PU Forest and natural resource management R A
Nationalpark Kalkalpen Protected areas organizations PU Forest and natural resource management R L
MHC – Furniture and Wood business cluster Upper Austria Cooperation network and consulting cluster PU-PR Furniture and wood business cluster R H
Baumfreund SME PR Joinery L H
Pastarro SME PR Joinery L H
Bezirksinnung Steyr-Kirchdorf SME C Joiner‘s guild L A
Tischlerei M. SME PR Joinery L H
Wood Designer A. G. SME PR Wooden design L A
Forstbüro R. (Forest office) SME PR Forestry service and consulting R A
University of Innsbruck Scientific organization PU Research, knowledge exchange, innovation network I H
STUDIA Schlierbach Civil society actor PR Regional development, research and consulting N H
Sawmills and timber merchants SME PR Sawmill and timber merchants L A
Table 3: List of relevant stakeholders for innovation idea (B) ‘Mobile wooden houses & Tourism’

(* SME (Small and medium enterprises) // ** PR (Private), PU (Public), PU-PR (Public-Private), C (Collective) // *** L (Local), R (Regional), N (National), I (International) // **** L (Low), A (Average), H (High))

Stakeholder name (UIBK, STUDIA) Stakeholder category (UIBK)* Sphere** Business type Scale*** Openness to innovation ****
SPES Zukunftsakademie Cooperation network and consulting cluster PR Training and research center R H
Regionalforum Steyr-Kirchdorf / state deputy / mayor Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R H
WKO (Chamber of commerce) Public administration PU Chamber of commerce L H
LAG LEADER-Region Traun4tler Alpenvorland Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R H
LAG LEADER-Region Nationalpark Oö. Kalkalpen Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R H
MHC – Furniture and Wood business cluster Upper Austria Cooperation network and consulting cluster PU-PR Furniture and wood business cluster R H
Tourismusverband (tourism association) Nationalpark Region Ennstal Tourism industry PR Tourism and travel related services R A
Tourismus Region Oberes Kremstal Tourism industry PR Tourism and travel related services R A
Tourismusverband (Tourism association) Gesäuse Tourism industry PR Tourism and travel related services R L
Nationalpark Gesäuse Protected areas organizations PU Forest and natural resource management R A
Nationalpark Kalkalpen Protected areas organizations PU Forest and natural resource management R L
Zimmerei W. SME PR Carpentry L H
Biomasseverband ÖÖ. (bBomass association Upper Austria) Cooperation network and consulting cluster C Consulting service on bioenergy R A
Forstbüro R. (forest office) SME PR Forestry service and consulting R A
University of Innsbruck Scientific organization PU Research, knowledge exchange, innovation network I H
STUDIA Schlierbach Civil society actors PR Regional development, research and consulting N H
Sawmills and timber merchants SME PR Sawmill and timber merchant L A
Table 4: List of relevant stakeholders for innovation idea (C) ‘Experiencing Forests & Wood‘

(* SME (Small and medium enterprises) // ** PR (Private), PU (Public), PU-PR (Public-Private), C (Collective) // *** L (Local), R (Regional), N (National), I (International) // **** L (Low), A (Average), H (High))

Stakeholder name (UIBK, STUDIA) Stakeholder category (UIBK)* Sphere** Business type Scale*** Openness to innovation ****
Regionalforum Steyr-Kirchdorf / state deputy / mayor Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R A
LAG LEADER-Region Traun4tler Alpenvorland Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R H
LAG LEADER-Region Nationalpark Oö. Kalkalpen Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R H
SPES Zukunftsakademie Cooperation network and consulting cluster PR Training and research center R A
MHC – Furniture and Wood business cluster Upper Austria Cooperation network and consulting cluster PU-PR Furniture and wood business cluster R H
Tourismusverband (Tourism association) Nationalpark Region Ennstal Tourism industry PR Tourism and travel related services R A
Tourismus Region Oberes Kremstal Tourism industry PR Tourism and travel related services R A
Tourismusverband (Tourism association) Gesäuse Tourism industry PR Tourism and travel related services R L
Nationalpark Gesäuse Protected areas organizations PU Forest and natural resource management R H
Nationalpark Kalkalpen Protected areas organizations PU Forest and natural resource management R H
Stift Admont (Abbey Admont) Land- and forest owner PR Forest and natural resource management / Forestry service L-I L
Biomasseverband ÖÖ. (Biomass association Upper Austria) Cooperation network and consulting cluster C Consulting service on bioenergy R A
Bezirksbauernkammer Kirchdorf Steyr (District chamber of agriculture) Public administration PU Forest and natural resource management / Forestry L A
Bezirksbauernkammer Kirchdorf Steyr (District chamber of agriculture), Forstberatung (forest consultancy) Public administration PU Forest and natural resource management / Forestry L H
R. Waldschule (forest school) SME PR Environmental education L H
Forstbüro R. (forest office) SME PR Forestry service and consulting R A
University of Innsbruck Scientific organization PU Research, knowledge exchange, innovation network I H
STUDIA Schlierbach Civil society actors PR Regional development, research and consulting N H
Tourists and leisure users Recreational users PR Tourism and local recreation L-I A
WKO (District chamber of commerce) Public administration PU Chamber of commerce L H
Waldbauernvereinigung (farmers forest association) Land- and forest owner C Forest and natural resource management / Forestry service L A
Large forest owners Land- and forest owner PR Forest and natural resource management L-I L
State forest owner Public administration PU Forest and natural resource management N L
Table 5: List of relevant stakeholders for innovation idea (D) ‘Establishing innovation-platform forest-wood’

(* SME (Small and medium enterprises) // ** PR (Private), PU (Public), PU-PR (Public-Private), C (Collective) // *** L (Local), R (Regional), N (National), I (International))

Stakeholder name (UIBK, STUDIA) Stakeholder category (UIBK)* Sphere** Business type Scale***
Regionalforum Steyr-Kirchdorf Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R
Chamber of commerce (WKO) Public administration PU Chamber of commerce L
LAG LEADER-Regions Public administration PU Rural regional development, cooperation and knowledge exchange R
National Parks Protected areas organizations PU Forest and natural resource management R
Furniture and Wood business cluster Upper Austria (MHC) Cooperation network and consulting cluster PU-PR Furniture and wood business cluster R
Joineries SME PR Joinery L
Furniture Designers SME PR Furniture designer L
Forest Management SME PR Forestry service and consulting L-R
Sawmills SME PR Sawmill and timber merchant L
SPES Future Academy Cooperation network and consulting cluster PR Training and research center R
Tourism Associations Tourism industry PR Tourism and travel related services R
Carpentries SME PR Carpentries L
Biomass Associations Cooperation network and consulting cluster C Consulting service on bioenergy R
Chamber of Agriculture Public administration PU Forest and natural resource management / Forestry L-R
Forest Education SME PR Environmental education
Tourists Recreational users PR Tourism and local recreation L-I
Community Civil Society Actors (non-profit) PU Community L
Forest Farmers Association Land- and forest owners C Forest and natural resource management / Forestry service L
Forest Owners Land- and forest owners PR Forest and natural resource management L-R
Energy Consultancy SME PR Consulting N
Firewood Community Association SME C Firewood Community Association L
Agricultural School Scientific organizations PU Research, knowledge exchange, innovation network R
University of Innsbruck Scientific organization PU Research, knowledge exchange, innovation network I
STUDIA Schlierbach Civil society actors PR Regional development, research and consulting N
Figure 1: Typology of relevant stakeholders for innovation idea (A) ‘Furniture, Design & Region’ according to stakeholder category and geographical aggregation.
Figure 2: Relevant stakeholders for innovation idea (B) ‘Mobile wooden houses & Tourism’ according to stakeholder category and geographical aggregation.
Figure 3: Typology of relevant stakeholders for innovation idea (C) ‘Experiencing Forests & Wood‘ according to stakeholder category and geographical aggregation.
Figure 4: Typology of relevant stakeholders for innovation idea (D) ‘Establishing innovation-platform forest-wood’ according to stakeholder category and geographical aggregation.

Participants in focus group discussions who are not mentioned in the lists above:

  1. Franz Reiterer (Forest management)
  2. Alexander Gebeshuber (Design student)
  3. Cosima Öllinger (SPES)

In preparation of the ‘Market Place’ event at the InnoForESt Consortium Assembly in October 2019 in Schlierbach, stakeholder information (including lists of stakeholders and mappings) was updated and complemented with the innovation idea (D) ‘Establishing innovation-platform forest-wood’. For this ‘new’ innovation idea, the stakeholder lists for the other three innovation ideas were merged and modified: several individual stakeholders were clustered into stakeholder groups (e.g., National Parks, LAG-LEADER-Regions, Joineries, Tourism Associations, Chambers of Agriculture). Newly added were stakeholders particularly from the business types of forest and natural resource management, wood processing, consulting as well as science and education. Stakeholders that were only mapped once in the course of the interview and had no participation in previous workshops were left out in this illustration. We also decided to skip the category ‘Openness to innovation’.

2.3 Reflection: overall governance situation before workshop

Many of the issues identified in the Austrian Innovation Region should be seen in the light of the emergent character of the forest ecosystem services governance innovation. Many explorative issues – some more, some less concrete – were reported. They are a mixture of moderately structured issues in the dimensions of knowledge and norms and values.

The following can be distinguished as overarching issues:

  1. Knowledge gaps with respect to legal frameworks, regional planning policies, intellectual property rights, and commercial aspects. The three innovation scenarios proposed in the Austrian Innovation Region – tiny houses, design furniture, and forest experience and education – are for now in their early stages of development, both regarding to specific content as well as the institutionalization thereof.
  2. Fair division of labor and financial compensation. Neither of the innovation scenarios builds on existing production processes or organizational infrastructures. While there are already commercial valorization processes for forest ecosystem services in the Innovation Region, these are all characterized by fragmented value chains. It will be one of the challenges for the Innovation Team to produce an innovation narrative shaping a common identity for the innovation stakeholder platform and for opening up avenues for structural support with respect to knowledge and funding.
  3. Stakeholder openness to innovation. It is, as yet, unclear how stakeholders can be inspired to keep an open mind for new ideas and system transformations. While the solution to this issue may perhaps be found in relevant social-scientific literatures ranging from inclusive innovation to nudging or forms of social learning, it is still uncertain, which (combinations) of these fit the situation in the Innovation Region.

The Innovation Team also distinguished a set of unstructured core issues:

  1. Definition of the region. The ‘Eisenwurzen’ as a region is very broadly defined, with which the stakeholders usually cannot identify socio-culturally. The emotional bond is expressed more strongly on smaller scales (community, district, valleys) and is mostly limited by the respective federal state borders. The topography of the region, in particular the long travel distances between villages also limits the opportunities for networking and contributes to practical problems (attendance) in the promotion of events.
  2. Fragmented and globalized forest-wood value chains. Although for all stages of the forest-wood value chain there are enterprises working within the region, including wood processing, trading, handcrafting, forest protection and forest-related tourism, these companies are hardly connected to each other. In several cases, stakeholders know the direct business partner in a sense of input-output-chains, but in most cases, needed raw material as well as processed goods are bought and sold on the global market (guided by efficiency and profitability criteria). This leads to a high volatility of prices (price dumping by (usually foreign) companies with lower environmental protection laws or more favorable harvesting conditions; price decline after storm events) and a difficult situation for locally embedded traditional small-scale businesses.
  3. Definition of Eisenwurzen Design. It is uncertain whether there are craft and design traditions in the Innovation Region which could be rightfully characterized as ‘Eisenwurzen Design’. Traditionally, wood was used to build or stabilize iron ore mining tunnel, therefore the wood handicraft tradition is less developed. Even if it does exist, the stakeholder network needs to find a consensus on whether it is necessary to define such an Eisenwurzen Design and how to do so.
  4. Bringing together a variety of interests and forming a functioning innovation network and platform. This is a complex process. On the one hand, it very much depends on the precise contents of those diverging interests. On the other hand, a promising consensus about the objectives of the innovation network and platform still needs to be identified.

The explorative, emergent character of the forest ecosystem services governance innovation in the Austrian Innovation Region means that many of the distinguished issues cut across the niche, regime and landscape levels. The process of defining the innovation niche also relates to exploring ‘what is’ in the surrounding regime and landscape, not only to find out what kind of forest ecosystem services governance innovation could have potential, but also to gauge the societal, economic, legal and political possibilities and frameworks for the proposed, still rather fluid innovation niches ‘in-the-making’. Patterns of problem-solving strategies have not yet developed in this young Innovation Region. If they exist at all, they are organized and implemented on an ad-hoc basis.

Table 6: Initial multi-level perspective analysis of Eisenwurzen Innovation Region (cf. D5.1). 
Category Emergence in Eisenwurzen
Current regime Fragmented stakeholder landscape/FES value chain
Incumbent Decentralized, incumbent exists
Innovator Private civil society actor
Niche maturation Orientation/exploration phase
Origin of innovation vis-à-vis governance structure Outside
Dominant interactions Newly established and partly pre-existent
Changes in actor constellations across project lifecycle stages Broadening of range of (potentially) cooperating stakeholders; emerging network
Governance process mechanisms Regime: Business as usual, decentralized market dynamics;
Niche: stimuli to construct new FES value chains
Character of core issues Niche: what will the niche be precisely?
Niche-regime: how do niche ideas fit into current practices, laws and regulations?
Niche-landscape: can the niche link up with usually FES-unrelated sectors?
Character of external developments Climate and demographic change impacts viability of FES sector, might open up new opportunities; rural development funding is an opportunity; natural disasters and pests
Governance-ecology interactions Direct: educational trips into forest
Indirect: new ways of processing existing forest products being developed

3 Overall approach

3.1 Innovation strategy of the case study

The aim is to establish a network of innovative cooperation in order to combine forest, forestry, and wood resources with improved and sustainable benefits for the region and the people living and working there. In this way, regional value chains for wood and wood products are expanded and new ones created. Local handicrafts are thereby promoted and future-oriented, sustainable solutions for forestry are made possible. New synergies with sectors such as tourism or forest-related education can be expected.

As of April 2019, the governance innovation and the respective governance innovation scenarios are still in an early stage. The first CINA workshop encompassing all three focus group topics took place on 7 February 2019. The idea was to keep those stakeholders involved who are already ‘activated’, motivated, and connected, and to open-up the process to a broader group of stakeholders. Therefore, stakeholders from sectors that did not participate so far, were encouraged to get involved, for example, the regional tourism association or forest owners. The objectives were threefold:

  • To keep stakeholders involved who already participated in the focus group discussions (or showed interest to join but could not participate due to, for example, time restrictions);
  • To activate stakeholders to convince peers and partners to join the innovation platform/the workshop;
  • To contact stakeholders from other sectors (along the value chain of forest and wood products and related organizations and associations) that have not been involved so far. In particular, we aimed at those actors known as ‘open to innovation’.

For the first CINA workshop on 7 February 2019, we were planning to cover all three innovation ideas/scenarios. The discussions and the analysis of the inputs made by the stakeholders before the workshop indicated that none of the three innovation ideas seemed to be obsolete or without interest and potential. All innovation ideas seemed to be able to offer a solution for the aims brought forward by the stakeholders. On the other hand, the aims and expectations raised towards the respective innovation options proved to be quite overlapping amongst the three groups.

The three innovation ideas were perceived to be able to complement each other and the stakeholders interested partly overlap. When preparing the workshop, the innovation options seemed to work with different velocities or where at different stages of development. Stakeholders were found to invest/dedicate different amounts of bargaining power and resources (time, networks, and money) in the three innovation ideas. Therefore, the first workshop in February 2019 was planned to be of integrative character, i.e. to capture all three innovation ideas identified so far and to discuss and further them.

Several activities took place after – and because of – the first CINA workshop, including:

  • Call for master theses and real-life cooperation on topics of innovation ideas: ‘Tiny houses and wall thickness’ (University of Arts Linz, Veronika Müller and carpentry Wolfthaler); ‘Furniture, Design and Region’ (HTL 1 Robert Kurzmann).
  • Planning of a ‘community-building’ excursion in September 2019 to the Bregenzerwald in Vorarlberg on the topics of design and forestry (silver fir); establishing contact with the Werkraum Bregenzerwald.

Based on the positive perception of the first CINA workshop, the high participant turnout, and the requests to include also stakeholders from the Enns valley, the IR team decided to organize the second CINA workshop in the Enns valley in order to make the distances to come to the workshops being distributed in a fair manner among stakeholders in region. We further hoped to encourage other stakeholders (in particular from or nearby the Enns valley) to join the workshop. Contentwise, we reiterated the aim to fostering networking of stakeholders in the forest-wood value chain in the Eisenwurzen and to enable knowledge exchange, in particular learning from other regions. In particular for the latter purpose, we invited Gabriel Gruber (ARGE s’Hoiz, MHC) to give a keynote/input on ‘Networking along the forest-wood value chain’ using the ARGE s’Hoiz project as a best practice example and we were planning an excursion to the Bregenzerwald in the time after the workshop. In contrast to the first CINA workshop, however, the exchange and discussions were not structured according to the initial three innovative ideas (with the exception of the ‘Tiny Houses’ idea) but where more focusing on the design and future of the innovation platform (based on a respective input provided and presented by the IR team on a ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ as a fourth, integrative innovation idea).

Against the background of the rather meagre results of the second CINA workshop, it was suggested by the IR team to have a smaller, more targeted meeting of very active/motivated regional stakeholders before the next ‘inclusive’ CINA workshop. This Task-Force-Group Eisenwurzen was expected to more effectively discuss the purpose, objectives, principles, and organizational forms of the innovation platform both for the remainder of the InnoForESt project and beyond 2020.

The first Task-Force-Meeting took place on 17 July 2019 in Schlierbach with five regional stakeholders. The main objective of setting up a Task Force for the establishment of a platform was achieved. A number of thematic priorities for the platform were collected and discussed (e.g., origin of wood – ‘wood from the region; wood from here’ –, potential of beech wood, awareness raising for ecosystem services and climate protection).

The results of this Task-Force-Meeting were finally entering the planning of the third CINA workshop which took place in January 2020. However, right after the Task-Force-Meeting the work of the IR team focused on the preparation of two events during the InnoForESt-Consortium Assembly in Schlierbach in October 2019: a ‘Market Place’ and an ‘Excursion’:

‘Market place’ during InnoForESt-Consortium Assembly in Schlierbach: enabling exchange, mutual knowledge and understanding between InnoForESt-project partners and regional stakeholders of the forest-wood value-chain on 30 October 2019 in Schlierbach.

Excursion ‘Forest-wood-value-chain Eisenwurzen’ in the context of the InnoForESt-Consortium Assembly in Schlierbach on 31 October 2019: a) giving the InnoForESt members insights into the forest-wood value chain of the Eisenwurzen region; b) local stakeholders have the opportunity to communicate innovative approaches to and to exchange experiences with an international community.

The third CINA-Workshop took place on 23 January 2020 and focused on speeding up the platform building process, working on organizational issues (legal form, responsibilities, decision making, representation, distribution of risks, funding options) of the stakeholder network/platform, and enabling the stakeholders to operate as a network in the time after the end of InnoForESt.

3.2 Platform and network process

Since the start of InnoForESt, several meetings of the IR team and with selected regional stakeholders have taken place. The most important meetings/talks, in the sense that they helped us in the process of building and establishing the platform and stakeholder network, are listed below. These activities have received large attention as building the platform and connecting different stakeholders is a major activity in the innovation region. This mainly includes stakeholders along the value chain of forests and wood production as well as going beyond to other sectors related to the process, such as administration, energy, mobility, and NGOs.

Initial meetings and other interactions include:

On 6 November 2017, Christian Schilcher and Felix Fößleitner, the managers of the LEADER regions ‘Traunviertler Alpenvorland’ (region in the Lower Alps, closer to the cities of Linz and Wels) and ‘Nationalpark Kalkalpen’ (more mountainous region) have been informed face-to-face.

Regional management and LEADER local action groups (LAG) are important regional organizations to promote regional innovation and create regional awareness. The ‘Regionalforum’ comprises all 44 mayors of the related Upper Austrian districts of Steyr-Land and Kirchdorf an der Krems, plus other political and sectoral representatives. In Austria, mayors play a significant role in building confidence and as regional multipliers. In the area of the Upper Austrian region Eisenwurzen, there are one Regional management, two LEADER LAGs, and two regional energy management groups. Four of these organizations had been informed on InnoForESt’s activities and participation opportunities well in advance of the focus group discussions/the first CINA workshop.

On 19 December 2017, Christian Wolbring, CEO of the Bürgerenergie (citizens’ energy) association, which is an important promotor of environment-friendly mobility solutions and resource efficiency, has been informed face-to-face. They provide a link to the ’Netzwerk Zukunftsraum Land’ (network future space countryside).

Alois Aigner, CEO of the ‘Regionalforum Steyr-Kirchdorf’ has been informed on InnoForESt via phone on 12 January 2018. Mr. Wolbring and Mr. Schilcher both attended the first CINA workshop.

  1. First meeting of IR team in the region on 29 January 2018
  2. STUDIA and UIBK partner meeting in Schlierbach: selection of interview partners for the stakeholder analysis and activation
  3. Stakeholder interview series – gaining information, communicating aims of InnoForESt, motivate stakeholders to involve in activities (see tables in Section 2.2)
  4. Talks to representative of National Park Gesäuse as an important affiliated project partner in the Styria state to help us activate Styrian stakeholders
  5. Talks to representative of LTSER-platform Eisenwurzen head (also affiliated project partner), connect with Umweltbundesamt (UBA) and BOKU university, Vienna
  6. Visit of opening of newly build chamber of agriculture, to promote and inform about InnoForESt, use the event to contact potential stakeholders
  7. Contacts with the neighboring Lower Austria part of Eisenwurzen have been started, for example by visiting Franz Handler, researcher at the agricultural research (Höhere Bundeslehr- und Forschungsanstalt BLT) in Wieselburg on 2 July 2018, and visiting the regional management of Amstetten, Rosamunde Pichler and Clarissa Schmitz on 11 October 2018.
  8. Series of one-to-one phone calls before the focus group discussions in October 2018 (to activate stakeholders and invite them to participate, also to inform and exchange ideas, answer questions)
  9. Focus group discussions – three discussions on one afternoon (24 October 2018)
  10. Series of one-to-one phone calls before the first CINA workshop (to activate stakeholders and invite them to participate, also to inform and exchange ideas, answer questions)
  11. One-to-one meeting with head of economic chamber of district
  12. One-to-one meeting with representative of SPES (mainly on mobile wooden houses innovation idea) (proHolz)
  13. Meeting with proHolz Tirole (Philipp Zingerle, Eva Moser, Simon Holzknecht) in Innsbruck: to learn from other regions, to discuss platform building activities (e.g., contribution of universities for project funding applications, identification of key stakeholders taking responsibility in the platform building process), to learn and discuss projects fostering innovations in the forest and wood sector (e.g., InnoWood, Holzolympiade, genialer Holztag, Barcamp), and to share experiences regarding stakeholders opinions on the future of the wood industry, digitalization, and the sustainability of ‘short’ product chains
  14. First CINA Workshop on 7 February 2019, Kirchdorf/Krems

In addition, mass media communication means have been an important activity in order to prepare for focus group discussions and the first CINA workshop. STUDIA developed communication designs for reaching the regional public. Several activities have been launched, one of them in synergy with the LTSER platform. In 2018, one focus of the LTSER platform has been set on communicating socio-ecologic research that involves regional actors.

STUDIA created a communication design for free-of-charge weekly newspapers, which has been filled with contents of the first CINA workshop on 7 February 2019. The communication design consists of a quarter page paid advertisement plus a half page content-related journalistic article. They have been published in “Tips” 2019/3th week, p. 10 and 2019/4th week, p. 13, the latter containing all information concerning the upcoming CINA workshop and the procedure for registration. 167,000 readers (many of them local stakeholders) have been reached twice with this information.

Franz Reiterer, who attended one of the focus group discussions, published an article on “Forestry know-how” in the regional weekly newspaper ‘Kremstaler Rundschau’ (2018/52nd week). This article used the communication design of STUDIA. The article contributed to awareness building concerning forest ecosystem functions. Reiterer told STUDIA via phone in January 2019, that he had received much positive feedback on that article. 35,000 readers (many of them local stakeholders) have been reached with this information.

STUDIA adapted the German version of the InnoForESt flyer to become an instrument for local communication. University of Innsbruck and HNEE designed and translated the folder into German; STUDIA included the regional contact information and procured printing. STUDIA distributed the folder on local events. One presentation has been at the annual General Assembly of the Regionalforum on 6 November 2018 in Steinbach an der Steyr.

In general, there is a strategy that helped us to bring the network building process further: The IR team, including the practice partner team (STUDIA) and the scientific partner team (UIBK), regularly sits together or communicates via Skype and exchanges ideas about which stakeholder categories or specifically important individual stakeholders have been missing in the last meeting or need to be involved for further meetings in the region.

In the course of the discussions, the practice partner team brings in their longstanding experience in working together with partners in the region. The scientific partners are able to include a more objective analysis of the compilation and characteristics of stakeholders and think beyond the boundaries of sectors or existing networks. By regularly recursive analysis of the current situation, in particular the discussions of and about the respective innovation ideas, new actor groups can be, have been and will be involved.

In addition, the stakeholders themselves have already been suggesting to stakeholders in order to involve additional stakeholders they know to the project activities, or have encouraged them do join by directly speaking with them.

  1. Second CINA workshop on 16 May 2019

A very rudimentary presentation of the digital platform did not find much resonance at first, but instead the desire for a ‘concrete’ idea to continue meeting was revealed. In this sense, the formation of an ‘analogue’ platform or one or more small interest groups or task forces plays a more important role.

Meetings and other interactions relevant for platform and network building processes that took place after the second CINA workshop include

  1. Presentation of ideas for Business park wood in Weyer (Wirtschaftspark Holz in Weyer) – Satellite event featured/supported by InnoForESt with 24 participating regional stakeholders including Wolfgang Baaske and Eva Seebacher on 12 June 2019
  2. 1st Task-Force-Group Eisenwurzen meeting with five regional stakeholders on further developing the idea of an innovation platform on 17 July 2019 in Schlierbach
  3. Excursion to Vorarlberg was planned to take place in September/October 2019 or early 2020 to support exchange and social contacts between stakeholders. This could not be realized but stakeholders were encouraged to join similar excursions lead by MHC Upper Austria (MHC On-Tour: Holzbau.Architektur.Reise) in April 2020 and proHolz Steiermark (Holzbau-Exkursion Vorarlberg) in March 2020.
  4. ‘Market place’ during InnoForESt-Consortium Assembly in Schlierbach: enabling exchange, mutual knowledge and understanding between InnoForESt-project partners and regional stakeholders of the forest-wood value-chain on 30 October 2019 in Schlierbach
  5. Excursion ‘Forest-wood-value-chain Eisenwurzen’ in the context of the InnoForESt-Consortium Assembly in Schlierbach on 31 October 2019: a) giving the InnoForESt members insights into the forest-wood value chain of the Eisenwurzen region; b) local stakeholders have the opportunity to communicate innovative approaches to and to exchange experiences with an international community
  6. Launching Digital Platform ‚Innovationsplattform Wertschöpfungskette Wald-Holz‘ (https://eisenwurzen.innoforest.eu/) in November 2019
  7. Meeting of the IR team on 16 December 2019 in Salzburg: a) to reflect and discuss progress of the InnoForESt project and the cooperation between UIBK and STUDIA over the last two years, b) to receive an update from STUDIA on the status of contacts and requests discussed with regional stakeholders from the Eisenwurzen, c) to develop an overall project strategy for 2020 (and post-2020), including the future of the innovation platform and the opportunities for continued science-practice collaboration between UIBK and STUDIA, and d) to discuss concept and organizational arrangements for the third CINA workshop on 23 January 2020 (objectives, format, invitations, etc.) and the planned excursion with regional stakeholders to the Bregenzerwald in Vorarlberg.
  8. Third CINA Workshop on 23 January 2020 in Schlierbach
  9. The third CINA workshop focused on furthering the development of ideas for networking and platform organization. Based on an input presentation by Gabriel Gruber on the best practice example of ARGE s’HOIZ and on fact sheets prepared by UIBK before, three organizational forms were discussed in detail with respect to pros and cons as well as fit to the needs of the ‘Innovation Platform Forests-Wood’: Work Group (ARGE), Association, and Cooperative.
  10. 2nd Task-Force-Group Eisenwurzen meeting on 25 March 2020 in Schlierbach (cancelled/postponed due to COVID-19)

For this Task Force meeting we had planned to prepare an input from UIBK compiling and reflecting on previous general and detailed objectives articulated and partly discussed previously. This would have been followed by a plenary discussion with the participants focusing on ‘What aspects are relevant and interesting for us? What aspects are interesting for us but not relevant’. Subsequently, we would have worked with the participants on the formulation of objectives using pre-formulated text modules, participant’s inputs, semantic analysis, and testing the SMARTness of these objectives. Finally, we would need to address the question on how to achieve these objectives/how to proceed.

3.3 Overall CINA workshop strategy

Focus group discussions
Date: 24 October 2018
Place: Schlierbach

Three pre-workshops (focus groups) held in SPES Schlierbach. They served as exploratory workshops. For the first time, the stakeholders related to the three innovation topics, which were compiled from the interview outcomes, discussed these innovation topics sitting on one table. Therefore, these discussions did not only serve to further elaborate challenges and chances related to the topics, but also served at bringing different stakeholders into first contact. In the focus group discussions, the stakeholders also discussed, which further stakeholders could and should be included. A few stakeholders did participate in more than one focus group; some more had been invited to do so when inviting them. Thus, we accounted for the fact that some stakeholders were actually – likely to be interested in and important for – more than one innovation idea.

23 participants, > 30 stakeholders actively involved in the preparation time (were contacted via e-mail and phone calls, gave feedback on expectations hindering factors or motivation to join or not).

1st CINA Workshop
Date: 7 February 2019
Place: Kirchdorf/Krems

The 1st CINA Workshop was held to discuss the three innovation ideas in a larger stakeholder round. Three scenarios focusing on one of the three innovation ideas were compiled, based on the knowledge gained so far. A fourth scenario was suggested, that tried to strengthen the inter-linkages between the three innovation ideas and encouraged to think them in an integrated way.

39 participants (29 regional stakeholders plus 1 external input and 9 IR team), > 47 persons invited

2nd CINA Workshop
Date: 16 May 2019
Place: Reichraming /Enns Valley

The 2nd CINA focused on fostering networking of stakeholders in the forest-wood value chain in the Eisenwurzen, to enable knowledge exchange, in particular learning from other regions (Best practice example as keynote speech by Gabriel Gruber (ARGE s’Hoiz, MHC) on ‘Networking along the forest-wood value chain’; planning an excursion to the Bregenzerwald workshop), to exchange and develop concrete, innovative ideas and to discuss design and future of the innovation platform. Three smaller working groups took place on a) ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’, b) Region + common identity + logo/symbol, and c) Tiny Houses.

29 participants (not all who were contacted participated at the workshop)

1st Task-Force-Eisenwurzen
Date: 17 July 2019
Place: Schlierbach

This meeting aimed at further developing the idea of an innovation platform in a smaller group of stakeholders (Task-Force-Group Eisenwurzen). Among others, purpose, objectives, and principles of such an innovation platform were discussed as well as the option to develop a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ for all interested regional stakeholders to sign. Further, the first rough mock-up of the regional InnoForESt digital platform was presented. Finally, options were discussed on how the platform could be continued after 2020.

8 participants (5 regional stakeholders plus 3 IR team)

3rd CINA Workshop
Date: 23 January 2020
Place: Schlierbach

The third CINA workshop focused on furthering the development of ideas for networking and platform organization. Based on an input presentation by Gabriel Gruber on the best practice example of ARGE s’HOIZ) and on fact sheets prepared by UIBK before, three organizational forms were discussed in detail with respect to pros and cons as well as fit to the needs of the ‘Innovation Platform Forests-Wood’: ARGE, Association, and Cooperative.

47 participants (14 regional stakeholders plus 6 IR team plus 25 Matura students at Raumberg-Gumpenstein LFS plus 2 teachers)

4 Type 1 workshop(s): Innovation analysis and visioning

4.1 Visioning workshop 1

4.1.1 Scenarios used

The scenarios used in the first CINA workshop had already been prepared as inputs to the three focus group discussion on the respective topics carried out in October 2018. They reflect the main lines of interests and ideas identified during the stakeholder interviews in spring/summer 2018. The discussions during the focus groups showed that all three broad innovation ideas were sufficiently interesting and relevant for the regional stakeholders, though individual stakeholders were prioritizing the innovation ideas differently (see 3.1, the differentiated stakeholder mapping for each innovation idea, and the thematic findings of the first and second CINA workshops).

Innovation idea 1

FURNITURE, DESIGN & REGION

  • What is the purpose of innovation?

The development of an “Eisenwurzener design” pursues the goal of establishing a platform for better linking of the fields of wood, craftsmanship and design. The focus is on using the identity of the Eisenwurzen region to communicate sustainable forest and wood use potentials. In this way, a strategy is to be developed that both encourages local companies to cooperate more closely and across disciplines and conveys the traditional craft as a creative career perspective with an opportunity for self-employment.

  • What has happened so far?

Between 2011-2013, the INTERREG project “Modular wooden furniture from the national park regions (Kalkalpen and Bayerischer Wald)” was implemented to promote cross-border cooperation and innovation in the traditional timber trade. Based on the results of a market potential study (https://issuu.com/studia-austria/docs/vollholz-modulm__bel_aus_nationalpa), the project slogan “International design meets local craftsmanship” was combined with a competition of ideas for high-quality solid wood furnishing modules. Sixteen concepts submitted by young designers from renowned universities were reviewed and presented by an international jury of experts. Discussions resulted above all in questions of the quality of design and craftsmanship, the need for design furniture (market situation), the regional networking of companies and the development of future-oriented strategies. The project was initiated by STUDIA Schlierbach, the Bavarian Forest and Wood Network and the Upper Austrian Furniture and Wood Construction Cluster (MHC). As within the InnoForESt project, the innovative idea of furniture and design was taken up again. Interviews and focus group discussions with regional stakeholders showed that there is still interest in exploring and implementing the innovation potential of this idea.

  • Who is involved?

Joineries, design experts, sawmills, chamber of commerce Kirchdorf (WKO), Upper Austrian Furniture and Wood Construction Cluster (MHC). For further networking should be integrated: Steyr-Kirchdorf district guild, Steyr-Kirchdorf regional forum and LEADER associations, national parks, other sawmills and timber dealers, universities with a focus on design and timber construction.

  • Which opportunities and obstacles are emerging?

In the region no independent “Eisenwurzener-Design” in wood and furniture construction can be detected so far. The high potential for embedding and valorising this regional design strategy in tourism significantly increases the opportunity to communicate the sustainable use of forests and wood. Obstacles to the implementation of the innovation idea can be seen in the currently very high production workload of local joineries and the lack of a choice of innovative marketing and sales strategies. At the same time, it is precisely these problem areas that offer many opportunities to make companies more internally diverse and to make the “Eisenwurzener design” known across borders.

  • Where is the future?

The region tries to create an Eisenwurzen identity which is reflected in all phases between cultivation, processing and marketing of regional wood products. The aim is to create a diversified network that promotes cooperation between the actors involved and provides a regular platform for both internal and external specialist impulses from the crafts and design (for example from WERKRAUM Bregenzerwald or proHolz Tirol). By creating a higher awareness of regional wood, traditional crafts and modern design, the region will be able to position itself beyond its borders.

Innovation idea 2

MOBILE WOODEN HOUSES & TOURISM

  • What is the purpose of innovation?

A mobile wooden house in modular construction is to be developed and connected with the development in tourism. An ecological building method from regional wood mediates a connection between contemporary living and traditional handicraft. Through the touristic use an experience is created and ecological timber construction from the Eisenwurzen is known supra-regionally. The accommodations are mobile, less invasive and can therefore be set up at different locations according to seasonal needs, e.g., in summer on a cycle/hiking trail and in winter near a ski resort. Alternatively, several houses can be set up in one place. Other craftsmen’s activities can be included in the equipping and thus many jobs can be maintained. The wooden houses could become the new showpiece of the region.

  • What has happened so far?

The company Wolfthal has developed a container-shaped modular timber construction that can be configured variably. In cooperation with the Furniture and Wood Construction Cluster (MHC) Upper Austria and the SPES Future Academy in the Wood Theme Network, an idea for a mobile, modular accommodation in wood construction was developed. It could contribute to filling gaps in overnight accommodation in tourism in the region and to creating new capacities at seasonal peak times. In addition, it could be used to equip regions that so far have been insufficiently served regarding the tourism infrastructure. The framework plan for regional development provides for the linking of tourism and timber construction as well as the promotion of modern rural living.

  • Who is involved?

The Wolfthal company, SPES Future Academy, Upper Austrian Furniture and Wood Construction Cluster (MHC), Chamber of Commerce. Further partners that should be involved: Tourism associations and national parks, which are interested in the use; forestry companies and sawmills, which provide the wood; regional furniture and timber construction enterprises, which would like to bring themselves into the development and arrangement of the timber houses; further crafts enterprises for the equipment, for instance with water and electricity, as well as for the regional integration of the Regional Forum Steyr-Kirchdorf and further Regional forums and LEA-DER associations.

  • Which opportunities and obstacles are emerging?

An ecologically sustainable construction method in wooden construction would be more strongly promoted and be made visible. Regionality is integrated into tourism development, and at the same time tourism supports regional timber construction. This creates awareness for the wooden construction and is combined with an adventure – the wooden construction can be experienced. Mobility enables seasonal use. An attractive offer will direct visitors to new “hot spots”. Small-scale structures promote gentle tourism that requires little space and does not impair the soil.

It remains to be clarified which specific sites are to be planned in the first stage and thus questions of land zoning, accessibility as well as supply and disposal which are directly related to the respective sites. In addition, the intellectual property rights to the innovation ideas must be defined and, if necessary, a consortium of several partners must be formed.

  • Where is the future?

Mobile wooden houses could make ecological wooden construction made in the Eisenwurzen region known beyond the borders by allowing people to spend their holidays here and take home a positive experience with wooden construction in the nature. On existing and planned long-distance hiking trails, new overnight accommodations will be created that can be flexibly placed at idyllic locations. Above all, areas with a weak tourist infrastructure could be strengthened as a result. New tourist groups are addressed. How booking and supply or infrastructure connectivity could be arranged is still open, initial ideas have been collected for this. With an appealing architecture and furnishing made of regional wood as well as an innovative approach to operating the wooden houses, new visitors can be addressed.

Innovation idea 3

EXPERIENCING FORESTS & WOOD

  • What is the purpose of innovation?

Forest and wood should be perceived more consciously in society. This increases the appreciation of the forest, its protection and sustainable use. People are given positive associations with the forest and future decision-makers are sensitized. The vision is for more people to develop a feeling for the necessary cooperation between forestry, recreation, nature conservation and hunting. Municipal buildings can use sustainably produced wood more frequently as a building material and thus create visible and tangible examples, such as the fire station in Steinbach or the National Park Centre in Molln. The result can be higher regional added value in the forestry sector and in forest education and tourism. Positive effects on health through the forest experience are expected.

  • What has happened so far?

As early as 1990, the Kirchdorf/Krems district launched a self-organized regional development initiative that developed a “Kirchdorf scenario 2010”. The process demonstrated the high level of acceptance for ecological economy in the region and supported the establishment of the Kalkalpen National Park. The “Regional Economic Concept” (1994) focused on nature conservation and value creation from agriculture, forestry and tourism. The regional development motto “From forest to wood region” has since been alive in numerous regional development concepts. Since 2004 the Eisenwurzen is LTSER-Region (Long-Term Socio-Economic and Ecological Research); a platform for research activities was established. The Eisenwurzen project region is part of the EU project InnoForESt. Interviews and focus group discussions with regional actors revealed several innovation approaches.

  • Who is involved?

Forest pedagogy, municipalities with their mayors, Chamber of Agriculture, Economic Chamber. As important partners should be involved: National parks (Kalkalpen with the UNESCO natural heritage Buchenwald and Gesäuse), tourism associations of the districts, mobility providers for improved local transport connections, the Climate Protection Forest Association, sawmills, forestry enterprises.

  • Which opportunities and obstacles are emerging?

Forest nature is a free good, access should be open to all. At the same time there can occur conflicts between forest management and nature experience, e.g., through allotted forest roads or different expectations of forest on the part of recreational sportsmen and forest owners. Public transport connections, which can be part of the solution, do not yet meet the requirements.

Opportunities arise from the increased integration of forest education in order to be able to offer concrete adventure opportunities for locals and day/several-day tourists. Knowledge about forest functions and regional forestry and wood economy should be anchored among children and young adults. Forest owners who ensure the maintenance of forest protection functions (e.g., water protection, avalanche protection), as well as national parks and near-natural forestry enterprises, are more highly respected for their work.

  • Where is the future?

The “experiencability” promotes regionality in handicraft wood products and the use of regional wood species. The awareness of the benefits of forest ecosystem services and the appreciation of the forest as a natural space, as well as the regional handicraft products created from it, can be experienced through innovative educational measures and concepts for different age groups in the communities and also for day and multi-day tourists. A brand for regional wood could be part of the result and can create added value.

It remains to be clarified what the concrete innovative design looks like and how the relationship between the benefits and risks of such a measure for forest managers will be optimized. For this purpose concrete places such as forest educational trails, popular hiking areas or the new long-distance hiking trails such as the “Luchstrail” could serve.

4.1.2 Setting

The workshop was held at the Technology Centre in Kirchdorf/Krems. The location is easy to reach from the Upper Austrian part of Eisenwurzen and also accessible for the stakeholders coming from the Styrian part. The Technology Centre is located close to a main federal road; but also public transport services are available within a reasonable distance. The Technology Centre is well known as a place fostering innovation and new technologies on the regional scale.

The workshop took place in a separate workspace, a medium-sized room, including parts of the foyer for the welcoming buffet and coffee breaks. The room itself turned out to be a little bit too small for the number of stakeholders attending the workshop. Due to organizational communication problems, it was not possible to occupy an additional working space or other rooms for the group work.

Following an introduction round, brief introductory statements on the workshop objectives by the IR team as well as some short input presentations on each of the three innovation ideas by both a member of the IR team and a regional stakeholder, respectively, workshop participants were divided in smaller groups (4-6 persons). Every group moved to topic-related tables, which were hosted by members of the IR team. It is important to note that when switching tables participants did not have to stay in ‘their’ group. However, each participant was asked to join a different topic each time. Workshop materials (colored cards, markers, and tablecloth) to summarize discussion results and other outcomes were provided and presented later by the table hosts in the plenary using posters on walls. For the Workshop-part after the break, the tables and chairs still where placed in the room in the same way. For the discussion (General, open, moderated plenary discussion about how to transfer ideas to Eisenwurzen and to express how we should go on) some participants slightly re-placed their chair opening up in a round.

Further, stakeholders could lay out own informational material at a separate table and thus present their own work to all participants. Additionally, we had a table to grab drinks and finger food during the whole afternoon.

13:00 Come together, buffet
13:20 Welcome, short presentation of InnoForESt project
13:45 Presentation of three scenarios (by IR team members), followed by short expert inputs by three young stakeholders representing each scenario topic
“Café” – parallel discussions on six small tables – always two tables with the same scenario
Questions for discussions an each table:
– What attracts me to this topic? What can I contribute?
– What challenges and opportunities do I see with regard to implementation?
– What would bring the idea / the topic further?
Tablecloth method – discussion themes can be written on a paper “table cloth”.
15:20 Break
15:55 Short presentations of outcomes of the “café”
Input of Veronika Müller of wood design training course, Linz, about the exemplary case of ‘Werkraum Vorarlberg’
Linking of innovation scenario topics, expression of interest of all stakeholders to one or more topics (a graphic with three overlapping circles)
16:20 General, open, moderated plenary discussion about how to transfer ideas to Eisenwurzen and to express how we should go on.
17:00 End

4.1.3 Participants

List of Participants:

  1. Franz Achathaler (Agricultural technical school Schlierbach, teaching subject: forestry)
  2. Alexander Ahrer (Coaching, Supervision, Consulting; managing director of ‘TEAMVision’)
  3. Franz Bammer (Timber construction enterprise Holzbau Bammer)
  4. Hartmut Beham (Forest management at Drehers Forstamt)
  5. Regina Buchriegler (Kalkalpen National Park)
  6. Thomas Dickbauer (Sawmill & timber trade enterprise Dickbauer)
  7. Maria Dieterstorfer (Citizen Service Micheldorf)
  8. Felix Fößleitner (LEADER Region Nationalpark Kalkalpen, LAG-Manager)
  9. Alexander Gebeshuber (Designer)
  10. Georg Habacher (Model region for climate and energy ‘Pyhrn-Priel’)
  11. Gabriele Hebesberger (Chamber of Agriculture Upper Austria, district office manager Steyr-Kirchdorf)
  12. Alexander Kirnbauer (Chamber of agriculture Kirchdorf-Steyr, forestry consultant)
  13. Sabrina Leitner (Entrepreneur)
  14. Veronika Müller (Scientific director of course ‘Überholz’ at University of Art, Linz)
  15. Christa Öhlinger-Brandner (Project manager Waldness)
  16. Cosima Öllinger (SPES Zukunftsakademie)
  17. Siegfried Pramhas (Chamber of Commerce, district office manager Kirchdorf/ Krems)
  18. Gerald Putz (Forest administration Weyer)
  19. Christian Redl (Forest administration Schaumburg-Lippe, Steyrling)
  20. Franz Reiterer (Engineering office for forestry)
  21. Martin Riesenhuber (Forest-related education, Riesi´s Waldschule)
  22. Stefan Schimpl (Tourism association Almtal)
  23. Franz Schmeißl (Baumfreund)
  24. Gabriel Schwarzmann (ProHolz Upper Austria)
  25. Christian Weixlbaumer (Agricultural community Kirchdorf/ Krems)
  26. Christian Wolbring (Model region for climate and energy ‘Traun4lter Alpenvorland’)
  27. Fritz Wolf (Forest-related education, Waldschule Almtal)
  28. Markus Wolfthaler (Carpentry & Timber construction enterprise, managing director)
  29. Josef Wolfthaler (LEADER Region Traun4tler Alpenvorland, LAG-Manager)
  30. Herbert Wölger (Gesäuse National Park, managing director)

Project participants:

  1. Ewert Aukes (University of Twente, NL)
  2. Peter Stegmaier (University of Twente, NL)
  3. Christian Schleyer (University of Innsbruck)
  4. Michael Klingler (University of Innsbruck)
  5. Jutta Kister (University of Innsbruck)
  6. Wolfgang Baaske (STUDIA Schlierbach)
  7. Hannah Politor (STUDIA Schlierbach)
  8. Eva Seebacher (STUDIA Schlierbach)
  9. Veronika Gaube (Institute of Social Ecology, University of Applied Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna)

Excused participants:

  1. Ludwig Mayrhofer (Biomass association) – had another appointment that could not be postponed
  2. Julia Kienbacher (Tourism association Oberes Kremstal) – previous appointment lasted longer, so she couldn´t make it any more
  3. Andreas Weissensteiner (Weissensteiner company – forest management and consultancy, Bergholz Admont) – was ill
  4. Daniel Kreiner (formerly: National Park Gesäuse – now: Protected area supervisor for the state of Styria) – several other appointments
  5. Roman Winter (carpenter) – doctor`s appointment
  6. Stephan Hölzl (MHC – Furniture and Wood business cluster Upper Austria) – another appointment at short notice
  7. Erich Gaffal (MHC – Furniture and Wood business cluster Upper Austria) – no information
  8. Klaus Gassner (carpentry Gassner) – could not come but wants to be kept informed

Several additional persons have been contacted beforehand via e-mail. Some of them called in at STUDIA and said that they are not interested (one person), too busy at this time (five persons), the own enterprise is too small to participate in such activities (one person), on holidays (one person). Others said that they will send a colleague or informed other colleagues that might be interested (5 persons).

More information on the participants:

At the beginning of the workshop, we did a little get-to-know-each-other exercise: The stakeholders and IR team members were asked to introduce themselves and tell us, to which part of the forest-wood value chain they would count themselves. We had provided a respective large graph showing the value chain with suggestions for respective categories. Additionally, also categories that are overarching the entire value chain or are closely related to the chain were given. The stakeholders were able to select by themselves and could choose more than one category.

Figure 5: Stakeholders’ “location” on the forest-wood value chain. Result of the 1st CINA workshop.

English translation of wall graph: Forest-wood value chain:

  • Professional associations / chambers / clusters
  • Education / schools / pedagogics
  • National park / protection – forest owner / forestry – sawmills – handcraft businesses – commercialization – consumption (the last category was intended to be inclusive for everybody)
  • Design / Architecture
  • Tourism / recreation / health /sports
  • Regional development
  • Society / NGOs / clubs
  • Scientific institution
  • Mobility provider
  • Financial institution / subsidies

We noticed, on the one hand, that there was a quite good distribution of stakeholder types with respect to the elements of the forest-wood value chain. Some stakeholders put themselves in more than one category. We noticed that some categories were missing so far, such as: (local) politics/ local communities and energy sector. In fact, representatives of the municipalities, such as mayors or employees of municipal administrations were not attending and should be better encouraged to join more the next workshop. Some stakeholders named an affiliation with the energy sector and could not mark this in the exercise poster. Forestry-related stakeholders, forest owners and national park stakeholders as well as handcraft businesses, regional development and chambers/clusters were participating in a quite nice number and were relatively well represented at the workshop.

4.1.4 Key thematic findings

Generally speaking, stakeholders showed great interest in working on the overarching topic of networking with all stakeholders of the forest and wood processing and the marketing sector but also from other relevant sectors such as tourism, administration, energy, local rural development. Additionally, more stakeholders that work on/are involved in one of the innovation ideas expressed interest in building synergies with one of the other innovation idea. Stakeholders strongly expressed, that they prefer to initialize a new mode of working in that area which should include all three innovation ideas and which should also be open to and for other/new innovation ideas. Therefore, they clearly emphasized to think and work topic-wise in a crosscutting manner.

Specific remarks / comments made during the workshop:

  • To unveil what is already here: exchange experiences made by particular persons; exchange expertise (e.g., on use of local wood types or on construction of public buildings).
  • Identify interesting activities and initiatives in other Austrian regions or neighboring countries. – Learning from others’ experiences.
  • Some successful and strong ideas have already been realized in the region in the past, but repetition and further dissemination has not been possible (e.g., alternative wood construction methods by Holzbau Bammer). There is a need for analyzing the obstacles which have prevented a further progress or continuation of some of these projects.
  • Mostly ‘solitary’ work as a daily working practice but strong desire to feel more like being part of a bigger network. Need for stronger relationships within the region as well with external experts and manufacturers has been stated.
  • Wish to talk to each other, to exchange ideas, experiences and most of all: to build up trust between stakeholders!
  • A platform, once built up, will support every participating stakeholder by means of:
    • Motivation and feeling stronger, while knowing to have the network supporting his or her ideas and activities.
    • Better access to public funding.
    • Convince policy makers to support the particular project/idea.
  • A platform needs an organizational structure, rules and methods on how to work and interact together. A ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ is needed. The protection of intellectual property rights needs to be discussed. Experts regarding these topics should be invited for future workshops and meetings.

What exactly should we do?

  • Look up ‚Holz von hier‘- Initiative in Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • Strengthen trust within region
  • Rules, protection of ideas
  • Present own work to each other
  • Present own innovations at a public event
  • Analyze the current status: What is already existent in the region?
  • Inform and gain support from policy makers
  • Make contacts and build up a network
  • Share information about other InnoForESt Innovation Regions
  • Organize a field excursion to the Vorarlberger ‘Werkraum Bregenzerwald’

The input talk on the project ‘Werkraum’ in Vorarlberg stimulated the discussion in the second part of the workshop and prompted reactions on challenges that we should overcome in the Eisenwurzen region:

  • ‘Change of perspectives’ by visiting projects in Vorarlberg
  • Seek new contacts, especially with actors outside the daily routine.
  • Similar to the idea of the Vorarlberg example, in Eisenwurzen we should improve and extend the use of beech wood – this would probably support the whole region
  • Include professionals into the work (not only to work low budget), to intentionally include local partners, as well as those from outside the wood value chain (e.g., professional photographer, web-designer) in order to commit everyone to the innovation platform and/or respective innovation idea
  • Keep up the interdisciplinary/-sectoral platform, develop ideas, include external experiences
  • Bring the potential to “light” – construction of a website with photos and explanation of existing cases would help here
  • Develop trust. InnoForESt is able to give a support and to facilitate. We cannot improve the ‘situation’ by working alone. When we expose us to the region or beyond, we need a trustful group to support every one of us.
  • Observe, perceive and appreciate positive examples already existent in the region
  • We should be better in avoiding obstacles (by analyzing and exchanging experiences)

4.1.5 Detailed thematic findings

Scenario 1: Furniture, design & region

Findings on the scenario in the ‘café’-discussions:

Questions:

  1. What attracts me to this topic? What can I contribute?
  2. What challenges and opportunities do I see with regard to implementation?
  3. What would bring the idea / the topic further?
Figure 6: Brown paper notes on Scenario 1 from 1st CINA workshop.

From the region, for the region

Stakeholders expressed that it is crucial to reflect the use of regional resources. The pattern “From the region, for the region” were stated several times. It emerged from this discussion that the regional identity does not explicitly/exclusively derive from wooden resources but rather from the connection between iron and wood/timber. Historically, the region is known for the mining and trading of iron. Wood has been used as an essential material to extract and process iron (see name ‘Eisenwurzen’). A new production idea could emerge from a (new) combination of iron and wood and in this way might develop/create a very singular characteristic for the region. So far, a common regional design has not been identified but could be a chance for the region – also the tourism sector could benefit from a regional design.

Networking

Regional actors need to be better connected within and across the value chain. A new platform for regular information exchange should take into account already existing networks (e.g., Tischler Stammtisch der Bezirksinnung [‘Regular table of carpenters, organized by the respective district guild]). Financial initiatives, such as crowdfunding or the founding a cooperative could turn out interesting assets for realizing new and innovative projects, for example, wooden houses. Publicly funded construction projects (e.g., Chamber of Commerce Kirchdorf Steyr) should assign especially local manufacturers to provide regionally produced wood items in order to practice and educate the idea of “regionality”. Production of furniture should consider intensively regional markets as target groups. Design should be useful and functional for everyday purposes.

Awareness raising

Overall, there is a great demand for raising the awareness for regional materials (wood, timber) and handcraft know-how. The region should be definitely more the focus, on producer’s as well as on consumer’s side. The idea of certification and labelling adequate regional products could strengthen the valorization, which encourages in the end also producers to realize innovative design ideas for niche products and beyond.

Further issues identified by Ewert Aukes (UT) while attending smaller group discussions on this scenario:

  • Product value: According to forest owners/timber producers, they do not benefit from the fact that their product is a wanted commodity. The returns they receive on the wood they sell is low. They seem to feel that there is an imbalance in the production chain which favors later stages. Some express that they feel remotely steered by industrial actors. They claim they cannot live from the product anymore. It is proposed that the whole production chain should remain in the region instead of exporting half-products. Another aspect is that the durability and sustainability of wood products could be emphasized more in communication with consumers.
  • Specialist knowledge: Some participants fear that local specialist knowledge concerning the wood craft may disappear soon. Now, there are still people who can recognize wood suitable for very specific uses, such as window frames.
  • Design, not design:
    • The concept of design is ambivalent. On the one hand, it expresses an added-value of unique products which are of high quality, as opposed to mass-produced products. On the other hand, it conveys an air of expensiveness, which may scare off less-earning consumers. It is not clear to everyone what “design” as a concept is.
    • Some proposed to think in terms of functionality instead of design.
    • Durability of wood products (see above) also has implications for design: if the product has a long lifetime, it should not follow design fashions but it should be timeless.
    • While it was not clear to all, what an ‘Eisenwurzen-Design’ could look like, due to not being able to identify typical characteristics of the region, one participant had a precise description: ‘Eisenwurzen-Design’ should be close-to-nature, untreated, or only with natural substances, it should be edgy (“kantig”) and rugged (“schroff”)”
  • Wood type: not all kinds of wood are the same in terms of their application. Distinctions are made between fir and spruce on the one hand, and beech on the other.
  • Organization of the production chain: several alternatives for the production chain were mentioned, including thinking in terms of cooperatives as in agriculture, or alternative ways of funding (pre-funding, crowdfunding). There seems to be the conviction that the way to the consumer is not clear enough and messages of the artisanal craft existing in the wood production chain are not heard. Difficulty of conveying messages would relate to many projects. Based on the experience of the previous project on modular furniture, it was said to be advisable to involve few actors at first. The large-scale inclusion of stakeholders was identified as one of the barriers for success in the previous project.
  • Alternative activities: it could also be interesting to look into the refurbishment of traditional, old buildings with wood details that are typical for the region

Scenario 2: Mobile wooden houses & tourism

Findings on the scenario in the ‘café’-discussions:

Questions:

  1. What attracts me to this topic? What can I contribute?
  2. What challenges and opportunities do I see with regard to implementation?
  3. What would bring the idea / the topic further?

Stakeholder suggested to use beech and fire wood for constructing tiny houses. It should be looked at all kinds of tiny houses that already exist in the region. Some stakeholders mentioned tiny houses that they have seen.

Figure 7: Brown paper notes on Scenario 1 from 1st CINA workshop.

Mobile wooden houses can take very different forms and sizes, can have different purposes and can come as singular objects (e.g., a small wooden house close to a hiking path) or as agglomerations/settlements (e.g., providing temporary accommodation for visitors of an event or for construction workers). In particular, mobile wooden houses as ‘stand-alone’ accommodation in a picturesque countryside or forest, used for touristic purposes, were considered to be ‘romantic places of yearning’. They can be perceived as wooden ‘chalets for the not-so-well-off tourist’ and give the tourists – mostly coming from urban areas – a feeling of ‘living with wood’ and thus advertise the attractiveness of this material. Due to their relatively small, yet compact size that may be able to carry the notion of ‘space as luxury’ (also the experience to temporarily living within a much less spacious ‘roofed environment’ compared to ‘home’).

Some participants noted critically that (mobile) wooden houses would not be suitable solutions for housing problems (i.e. providing sufficient and adequate housing for all – “Wohnungsnot”/housing shortage) and should not perceived as such. Among others, in particular as singular constructions, the overall sustainability of mobile wooden houses would not be very high in terms of using space and energy efficiently. Further, supply with water and other essentials as well as disposal of waste/faeces could be a problem as well as ‘transporting’ them from one place to another.

In practice, a reliable and consistent legal framework for these kind of mobile wooden houses seems to be missing. This includes questions on the ‘level of permanence’ (e.g., if construction law would be the adequate legal framework, or not) and if they could be placed in areas where construction activities are forbidden otherwise (e.g., nature protection areas, landscape protection areas).

Stakeholders suggested using regional beech and fire wood in for constructing the tiny house, to make use of the locally available material, and to advertise the attractiveness of these wood types. Further, furniture and other (wooden) elements in those mobile wooden houses could be leaning on an ‘Eisenwurzen-Design’.

Scenario 3: Experiencing forests & wood

Findings on the scenario in the ‘café’-discussions:

Questions:

  1. What attracts me to this topic? What can I contribute?
  2. What challenges and opportunities do I see with regard to implementation?
  3. What would bring the idea / the topic further?
Figure 8: Flipover notes on Scenario 3 from 1st CINA workshop.

Figure 9: Collection of outcomes as collected by workshop table hosts.

The stakeholders were bringing up quite a wide range of arguments in this group. Important statements include:

  • Forest education should include a lifelong perspective and people should visit the forest repeatedly at all phases of life.
  • Forest education should not be divided into ecology and economy of the forests. Currently, the protected areas have different topics than the education programs of the forest owners. Others are more willing to keep up with this division.
  • There was a consensus about education on sustainable development that is “on the right place” when carried out in the forests.

Some quite concrete innovation ideas have been brought to the discussion:

  • We should strengthen local sawmills.
  • It would be good to formally implement hiking trails in the forests with educational purpose. By doing so potential conflicts of forest use for recreational purposes could be reduced.
  • Maybe a recreational map would be of advantage to guide visitors to specific paths for hiking and mountain biking.

Background for these ideas is the fact that legally the forest owner is responsible for the forest visitor when the visitor is on his/her territory. The forest owners are concerned about this legal responsibility for the visitor, they cannot guide, as usually the forest is used for economic activity. Therefore, there is a need to avoid conflicts between recreational use and commercial use; and maybe even the rights of the game have to be considered.

  • There is a need for compensatory payment for the management activities that is helpful to mitigate climate change.
  • Managing forests has to get more economically/commercially viable. Otherwise, forest owners employ subcontractors to manage the forest. As a consequence, weak human-nature-relationship of forest owners towards their owned forest nature are observable in the region. Additionally, it is perceived that subcontractors do not care much about avoiding collateral damage of their work in the forests. Damaged forests do not help enabling better connection or experience of local people in and with forests.
  • Generally, more buildings that are public should use local wood, thus people can experience wood while looking at or visiting the buildings. Further, local connection and a positive view of the local forests could be improved.

4.1.6 Process

Overall structure and setting of the workshop ‘worked’, no major deviations were necessary; not the least, since most parts of the program allowed for sufficient flexibility to account for specific topics/issues for discussion.

  • Physical setting (building, room) (see also above): Building was reasonably well-located and well-equipped (though not a wooden construction). Size of room was rather small for the number of people attending, so group work was a bit difficult – OK for group discussions, yet difficult for recording discussion on individual tables). Tables were placed separately to realize the discussions in smaller working groups.
  • The workshop was video- and audio-recorded. Several photos were taken during the workshop. The identified innovation ideas were presented by the InnoForESt team as short inputs; key insights were shared as handouts. Each innovation idea was supported by a 5 min. presentation of regional and thematic ‘experts’. Three young and active persons were selected after the focus-group discussions to fulfil this task. Overall, it worked quite well. The idea of integrating persons external to the InnoForESt project has turned out very positive. Especially the input of Veronika Müller about experiences made with the platform building process ‘Werkraum Vorarlberg’ has proven to stimulate the following group discussion.

4.1.7 Stakeholder interactions

Most participants, engaged quite actively in the group and plenary discussions. Longer break with dining options also provided opportunity to exchange between stakeholders, but also between stakeholders and members of the IR team.

Group discussions indeed enabled and encouraged all participants to exchange perspectives and to ‘voice opinions’. Yet, quite some ‘loss of information (depth/detail) when reporting essentials from topic tables back to the plenary).

In general, plenary discussions took place in a civilized manner and in an ‘open atmosphere’, yet with some (slightly) provocative statements that, however, did not dominate or ‘hijack’ the overall discussion and its constructive and forward-looking notion.

Potentially problematic interactions – noted by Ewert (UT) (on substantial grounds, not so much personal characteristics):

  • Economy-ecology tension: forest owners fear unjustified interventions into their work and livelihood by nature protection or sprawling educational visits.
  • Changing all kinds of existing processes: We need to avoid that our activities change their existing and proven processes. That could feel like an “uncalled-for intervention”. We need to prepare the conditions under which they can change/adapt/innovate their product and processes themselves (notion of meta-governance).
  • The role of designers: the presence of designers may be felt as alien and uncomfortable. Their value needs to become self-evident. Who of the woodworkers has already worked with designers? What were their experiences? How can their presence be made productive?

4.1.8 Lessons learnt

  1. For the IR:
  • Innovation ideas presented have shown to be important points of departure for stakeholders for thinking about and discussing innovation and collaboration in the wood and forest value chain and beyond – it has concrete and practical ‘touch’ that many of the stakeholders can relate to.
  • There are hardly any stakeholders who seem to be exclusively interested in one of the presented innovation ideas. Instead, most stakeholders located themselves in the ‘overlapping areas’ between two of the innovation ideas, or even in the ‘overlapping area’ between all three ideas (see Graph X).
  • At least equally important – or even more important – for most stakeholders seems to be the building of a ‘platform’ as new and innovative mode of interaction that a) allows to draw on the existing activities and experiences in the field by a broad range of stakeholders within the wood-forest value chain (and beyond), b) facilitates systematic and relatively frequent exchange, c) might support the development of trust among larger groups of stakeholders and eventually practical projects and activities providing commercial or other added-value for the stakeholders, d) might contribute to supporting/(further) developing a regional identity.
  • Both elements, content/ concrete innovation ideas and platform development (organizational or even legal structure, digital and physical features, etc.) need to be pursued in parallel or – if possible – in an integrated manner.
  • There is some sort of ‘thirst’ on taking stock of and learning from success and failure of relevant regional activities/projects, but also from those beyond Eisenwurzen (e.g., Vorarlberg, but even from international examples). Thus, consolidating existing regional knowledge in a systematic way (and facilitating exchange between stakeholders for that purpose) as well as ‘importing’ knowledge and inspiration should feature prominently.
  1. For the InnoForESt project:
  • Rather high effort for talking with a broad range of regional stakeholders (in particular, semi-structured interviews in the context of the stakeholder analysis and the Governance system assessment, but also the frequent and systematic communication by phone with individual stakeholders) really paid off: it seems that stakeholder get the impression that the IR team is really interested in (understanding) their challenges and ideas and to let those guide the process and development of the innovation ideas. To varying extent, stakeholders start to develop ‘trust’ to the IR team.
  • Using smaller focus groups (as an intermediate step before or between CINA workshops) to learn more about the respective innovation ideas and the thoughts of a broader range of regional stakeholders was important to make sure that identified innovation ideas are sufficiently attractive and relevant for stakeholders. The focus groups may have also contributed to the rather high outcome in terms of participants at the first CINA workshop.
  • Sometimes, there is only a fine line between the IR team’s intention to get the process going and to ‘steer it in a way’ to keep the process alive, and to be too prescriptive or dominant. Shifting perceived and actual ownership of the innovation process and the platform to the stakeholders is likely to be a challenge. Concretizing the physical and digital elements of the platform will be important and perhaps decisive for this.

4.1.9 Reflection

Factor reconfiguration

Difficult to say at this stage, not the least because there are different innovation ideas (still) on the table each depending on their own – yet, partly overlapping – sets of contextual factors (e.g., the legal situation – and changes thereof – might be very important for pursuing the idea of mobile wooden houses for touristic purposes in the National parks; capacity problems ‘too much work’ on part of many carpenters limit feasibility and attractiveness of some of the innovation ideas depending on wood processing). Additionally, the latest innovation idea (platform) has not been discussed sufficiently to contribute with further details on factor reconfiguration. Further, contextual factors are certainly also relevant for discussion on the organizational or even legal form of the platform and future collaboration. Yet, here we are only very much at the beginning of exploring and (pre-)selecting options – this will be one core topic of the 2nd CINA workshop which is planned for 16 May 2019. Discussions on what actually the prototype is are still ongoing: likely the platform as means of collaboration/exchange but incorporating several ‘practical’ innovation ideas.

Governance modes

See 4.1.9 on organizational and other issues around the establishment of the innovation platform.

5 Type 2 workshop(s): Prototype assessment

5.1 Prototype workshop 1

5.1.1 Scenarios used

All three original innovation ideas were briefly presented again and latest developments presented and/or identified during the discussion. They include:

Innovation idea 1 ‘Furniture, Design & Region’

  • Robert Kurzmann from the HTL 1 Building and Design, Linz, suggested a competition for regional furniture design ‘Eisenwurzen’ in the winter term 2019/20 or later.
  • Robert Kurzmann from the HTL 1 Building and Design, Linz, suggested to encourage a diploma thesis about furniture, design and region.
  • MHC/Gabriel Gruber is preparing a ‘digital furniture cluster’: digitalisation would be possible in all processes of furniture making: planning, production, logistics, distribution. Thus, potential customers can configure furniture online and could use the ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ to identify carpenters in the region can produce it for them.

Innovation idea 2 ‘Mobile wooden houses & tourism’

  • For the diploma thesis of a student (of Veronika Müller, University of Art, Linz, course ‘Überholz’) the carpentry Markus Wolfthaler was contacted on ‘Tiny houses and wall thickness’.
  • Markus Wolfthaler (carpentry) reports a great demand for so-called ‘Tiny houses’ (see group work 3).

Innovation idea 3 ‘Experiencing Forests & Wood’

  • No update – see presentation by Martin Riesenhuber at first CINA workshop.

Based on the results of the first CINA workshops and subsequent individual discussions with regional stakeholders as well as in the IR team, it was decided to frame the attempts to establish an ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ as a fourth innovation idea/’scenario’. However, it aims at integrating the other more content-/topic-related innovation ideas, rather than be an alternative or substitute to them. See also the respective discussion on the Innovation Platform in one smaller group at the second CINA workshop.

Innovation idea 4

Establishing Innovation-Platform

Forest-Wood

  • What is the innovation for?

The ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ is expected to make better use of the value of forests and forest ecosystem services in the Eisenwurzen region. The focus is on the sustainable provision and use of forest ecosystem services, which are promoted, on the one hand, by innovations in the regional value creation for forests and wood. On the other hand, this supports a conscious perception and increased appreciation of forests, forestry and wood in society.

The aim is to establish a network of innovative cooperation in order to combine forest, forestry and wood resources with improved and sustainable benefits for the region and the people living and working there. In this way, regional value chains for wood and wood products are expanded and new ones created. Local handicrafts are thereby promoted and future-oriented, sustainable solutions for forestry are made possible. New synergies with sectors such as tourism or forest-related education can be expected.

The ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ provides the necessary framework for direct exchange, networking, and cross-sector cooperation. The exchange is made possible both through personal meetings and workshops and through a digital platform. In this way, concrete innovation ideas can be brought together, exchanged and discussed at regular intervals.

  • What has happened so far?

Within the InnoForESt project, the potentials, opportunities, and obstacles for three innovation ideas were initially explored and discussed with regional stakeholders via interviews and focus group discussions:

  • Furniture, Design & Region;
  • Mobile wooden houses & tourism;
  • Experiencing forests & wood

In a first workshop, these innovation ideas were discussed with a large number of stakeholders from different fields of work in the Eisenwurzen region. Some participants saw great potential for their own companies and regional development, with the intention to continue working on one or more of these innovation ideas. It was also shown that a stronger networking and cooperation between the actors of the forest-wood value chain is considered to be particularly important for a successful implementation of innovative projects.

  • Who is involved?

National parks (Kalkalpen and Gesäuse), forest enterprises, forest management, forest education/forest schools, sawmills, timber merchants, joineries, timber construction companies, district guilds, SPES Future Academy, MHC Upper Austria, Pro-Holz, municipalities with mayors, Chamber of Agriculture, Chamber of Commerce, Regional Forum Steyr-Kirchdorf and LEADER associations, agricultural school, tourism associations of the districts, mobility providers, other handicraft enterprises, Climate and Energy Model Region Pyhrn-Priel and Traun4tler Alpenvorland, the climate protection-forest association, creative entrepreneurs, design experts, universities with a focus on design and timber construction.

  • What opportunities and obstacles are emerging?

Many stakeholders from the region show great interest in working together more intensively both on concrete innovation projects and as a network. Although there are already numerous initiatives and experiences in the region in the fields of wood processing, timber construction, near-natural forest management, sustainable provision of ecosystem services and forest-related education, their own experiences are often not shared enough with others. Successful projects do not automatically lead to repetition, and ‘setbacks’ cannot be absorbed in further attempts. Many people often feel like ‘lone fighters’ here. At the same time, cross-industry exchange is perceived as particularly profitable.

A platform can show what is already happening in the region, make successful ‘lighthouse’ projects more visible, highlight good ideas and offer opportunities to exchange specific know-how with others. A platform creates space for new contacts, gathering of experience, building of trust, and prepares the ground for cooperation and innovation.

A platform supports individuals in their activities, creates a common identity and can make demands on politicians and obtain funding. Together, networking is successful in strengthening regional cooperation and promoting an awareness of forests and wood in one of the most densely forested regions of Austria.

Obstacles are, for example, the long transport routes between the provinces/federal states and central places in the region, which often makes personal exchange difficult. Since the network ultimately lives from the involvement and commitment of the individual actors their often-limited time resources presents the platform with further challenges. Furthermore, questions of intellectual and other property rights remain unresolved.

  • Where does the future lie?

The digital platform can be used to:

  • show what is happening with regard to local crafts and the sustainable use of forests, wood and timber resources in the region. Lighthouse projects and joint actions to promote regional forest-wood value chains are to be made accessible online and presented in an attractive way.
  • to better communicate from the region to the outside world and increase its visibility.
  • to establish contacts, promote direct exchange, and build a network of increased cross-sector cooperation.
  • to present information on the history, the origin, and the objectives of the ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ as well as on current innovation ideas and analyses of potentials.
  • to announce further meetings and workshops as well as interesting external events.
  • to possibly provide an additional (password protected) area for members of the platform for internal communication.

Together with the workshop participants, it is necessary to clarify which tasks and objectives the ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ should pursue, which processes should be supported and how, and – subsequently – which form of organization the platform should take.

With regard to the latter point, the following organizational forms have already been explored which the ‘Innovation Platform Forest-Wood’ could adopt:

  1. Irregular mee